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Monday, September 25, 2006

NGAUS Notes: Sept. 22, 2006

Key Conference Speakers Highlight Guard Success, Challenges

The 128th NGAUS General Conference wrapped up Monday after three days that featured a collection of notable speakers who applauded the Guard, but offered some pointed criticism about the world in which the Guard operates.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson on Monday set his sights on Washington, addressing the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of 2006, insisting the Guard has earned decision-making power commensurate with citizen-soldier and airman contributions to the nation since 9/11.

At the conference, more than 2,500 members signed banners supporting the act that were unveiled to Congress Tuesday.

He also took aim at attempts by Congress to allow the president to activate the Guard during emergencies, which would simply take that power away from governors. He also addressed readiness issues for troops at home.

"As many as one out of five at-home Guardsmen have no health coverage at all. That is wrong," he said. He insisted the Guard should be treated as the operational force it has become.

The same day, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff noted the Guard's border contribution and the drop in the number of illegal entries to the country.

Mr. Chertoff also noted improvements between federal cabinet-level departments, including synchronizing communications capabilities and joint training and preparation for possible domestic disasters, such as hurricanes or floods.

Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, National Guard Bureau chief, praised the Guard's efforts in the past year in the war on terror and in recruiting, but he noted serious equipment problems that leave many units unable to properly respond to unforeseen domestic emergencies, such as floods, hurricanes or the unthinkable.

NGAUS Conferees Select New Board Chairman

Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger is the new NGAUS chairman of the board.

Delegates to the 128th General Conference in Albuquerque, N.M, elected the Indiana adjutant general (TAG) and sitting association board member last weekend.

General Umbarger replaces Brig. Gen. Robert V. Taylor of Michigan. Association bylaws limit the chairman to a single two-year term. He has 37 years in uniform, 34 as a part-time Guardsman.

Recent assignments include that of commander of the 76th Infantry Brigade and deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army Forces Command.

Delegates also elected Brig. Gen. Norman Arflack of Kentucky as vice chairman for Army and re-elected Maj. Gen. David B. Poythress of Georgia as vice chairman for Air.

Retired Brig. Gen. Ken Ross of Louisiana and Col. Al Faber of Ohio were unopposed in their re-election bids for treasurer and secretary, respectively.

Board representatives for Areas III and VI, warrant officers and Army company grades were also up for election.

Delegates selected past-chairman Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett (TAG) of Tennessee and Lt. Col. Steven Joyce (Army) and Lt. Col. Murray Hanson (Air), both of Georgia, to represent Area III.

In addition, they chose Maj. Gen. Edward L. Wright (TAG) of Wyoming, retired Col. Raymond Jardine (Army) of Hawaii and Brig. Gen. Daniel B. Ohollaren (Air) of Oregon to represent Area VI.

Capt. Rollin L. Roberts of Mississippi is the new Army company-grade representative and retired Warrant Officer 5 Larry Massey of Indiana was re-elected to the board's warrant officer position.

Defense Department to Review Military Awards Policies and Procedures

In an effort to provide clarity in awards standards, the Defense Department has begun a comprehensive review of military awards and decorations.

"It's been about 10 years since we've reviewed our directive in a comprehensive way and, given the events of the Global War on Terror - our experience operationally in that environment, there are some changes we think we can make to give greater clarity and consistency to the awards," said Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy.

He said the changing nature of warfare in the Global War on Terror and lessons learned over the past few years have prompted some changes to make the system work better.

One of these areas is the criteria for "V" devices and Purple Heart Medals. In the Army, the "V" device only is awarded for valor, whereas in the other services, members can receive it simply for presence in the theater of operations. When it comes to Purple Hearts, Mr. Carr said the different services have slightly different standards.

Officials will also address the definition of "theater of operations" when it comes to expeditionary medals.

The Air Force defines the theater of operations as the globe, because their pilots fly all over the world, but other services define the theater as a specific piece of ground.

"Concerns have been expressed by one service about the practices of another service, and as we saw that pattern, it was pretty clear that it was now time to conduct a more comprehensive review," Mr. Carr said.

Job Openings in Legislative Departmnent

Deputy Director of Legislative Programs

Candidate will be responsible for assisting director in the daily operations and execution of legislative agenda.

Duties will include lobbying, strategy development, conducting administrative duties, and assisting in staff management.

Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience and strong knowledge of the defense community.

Joint Programs Lobbyist

Candidate will be responsible for lobbying for Army and Air National Guard personnel and benefits issues on Capitol Hill.

Duties include direct lobbying, strategic planning/implementation and other duties relevant to joint programs.

Successful candidate will have a bachelor's degree in political science or government, 3-5 years of legislative experience, strong knowledge of the defense community, advocacy and communication skills. Military experience a plus.

Interested candidates should send cover letter and resume to: NGAUS, Legislative Director, One Massachusetts Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001, or e-mail richard.green@ngaus.org. Today is the closing date for both positions.

This Week in Guard History

Sept. 20, 1917: St. Nazaire, France - The 26th "Yankee" Division, which included soldiers from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, becomes the first American division to arrive in Europe during World War I.

More than one million American soldiers and Marines will join them by war's end in November 1918. All 18 National Guard divisions would serve in France, but only 11 see combat as intact units. Six others become "depot" divisions, serving as a source of replacements for casualties suffered by the frontline divisions.

The 93rd Division, composed of all of the Guard's African American units, has each of its four regiments parceled out to three different French divisions because Army leadership did not want black and white soldiers serving together.

NGAUS History

In 1940, Maj. Gen. Edward Martin, commander of Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division, became NGAUS president.

Shortly thereafter, the peacetime Guard mobilization began. With most elected NGAUS officers on active duty, the association's activities diminished.

Army efforts to push Guard general officers out of their commands and active service soon provided the association with a body of senior leaders available for association duties.

Back in Pennsylvania, General Martin ran for governor. Elected to the first of several terms in 1943, he stepped down as NGAUS president to focus on running the commonwealth.

Category: (Military) NGAUS Notes.
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